Activision Blizzard, IncNASDAQ
Activision Blizzard Still Looks Like A Short (But I've Been Wrong So Far)
Vince Martin • 15 Comments
Vince Martin • 15 Comments
The Shocking Decline Of Activision-Blizzard's World Of Warcraft (And What They Are Doing About It)
Kevin Hess • 10 Comments
Kevin Hess • 10 Comments
Mon, Nov. 28, 8:33 AM
- Black Friday weekend channel checks from investment firms are still pouring in. A few tidbits are posted below.
- Wells Fargo: Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) was a traffic outperformer, while Calvin Klein (NYSE:PVH) and Carter's (NYSE:CRI) held the line on pricing amid a promotional atmosphere.
- Wedbush: High-profile video games were discounted more than last year. Keep an eye out on GameStop (NYSE:GME), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA).
- Fung Global Retail & Technology: Shoes (FL, FINL) were identified as a hot seller, while jewelry (NYSE:SIG) sales were down.
- Jefferies: Unexpected strength for the UGG brand (NASDAQ:DECK) and Gap was observed. Demand for Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) and Coach (NYSE:COH) handbags appeared soft.
- Previously: Black Friday wrap: Records fall, retail winners and losers (Nov. 25)
- Source: Bloomberg.
Mon, Nov. 28, 8:27 AM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) has struck a new employment agreement with Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick, according to an SEC filing.
- His salary will be cut to $1.8M from $2.4M as of Jan. 1, 2017, but he could make more than $56M in ATVI's shares over three years depending on meeting certain performance targets.
- SEC Form 8-K
Fri, Nov. 4, 3:57 PM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is 3.9% lower today after issuing some (not unusual) soft guidance for the holidays, though analysts aren't short on seeing upside ahead.
- Firms reiterated their Buy ratings and three raised price targets: Baird, Cowen and Wedbush. Baird bumped its price target to $50 from $46; Wedbush, meanwhile, raised to $53 from $48, implying 27% upside from today's lower price.
- That dim guidance comes even with today's release of the latest in its annual smash franchise, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The cautious outlook is "likely due to the company factoring in a healthy layer of conservatism around Call of Duty," says Piper Jaffray's Michael Olson, who has a price target of $51. "Activision management has historically under-promised and over-delivered, exceeding its original EPS guidance on average by 19% in the past 7 years."
- Jefferies' Brian Fitzgerald sees "large new opportunities in e-sports, in-game advertising, and micro-transactions ... Advertising is a potential billion-dollar business and is not included in Street estimates."
Thu, Nov. 3, 4:31 PM
- Activision Blizzard (ATVI +1.8%) has slipped 5.5% after hours following its Q3 profit beat, which featured a guidance raise still below consensus for the holiday quarter.
- Revenues hit a Q3 record $1.57B (in accordance with GAAP); those revenues from digital channels were an all-time record of $1.34B.
- Revenue breakout: Product sales, $355M (down 16.5%); Subscription, licensing and other, $1.21B (up 115).
- The company's raising guidance for full-year net revenues (now to $6.45B non-GAAP, vs. $6.56B consensus) and EPS (to $1.92 vs. expected $1.98), and expects Q4 revenues of $1.86B (vs. $2.45B consensus) and EPS of $0.40 (vs. consensus for $0.79).
- Conference call to come at 4:30 p.m. ET.
- Press Release
Thu, Nov. 3, 4:10 PM
Wed, Nov. 2, 5:35 PM
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Tue, Oct. 18, 9:58 AM
- CBS, Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) and King Digital (NASDAQ:ATVI) are coming together in some good old candy-crushing synergy. The three have committed to an order for a TV series based on the hit mobile game Candy Crush Saga.
- The show -- an hourlong live-game format that will pit teams of two against giant game boards -- will also feature a play-along option for home viewers. It doesn't have a set debut date.
- Candy Crush Saga and its companion game Candy Crush Soda Saga generated an average of 18B game rounds last month, CBS says.
- In early action: CBS +0.4%; LGF +0.6%; ATVI +1.7%.
Tue, Sep. 27, 12:35 PM
- NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) is up 1.2% today after renewing its licensing agreement in China with Blizzard Entertainment (ATVI +0.1%).
- The deal -- a lucrative partnership that covers games including World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch -- is extended to January 2020 and currently heads into its ninth year.
- During the deal, the companies attained the goal of launching Blizzard's games in China simultaneous with other regions.
Fri, Sep. 23, 1:26 PM
- Morgan Stanley has launched coverage on videogame rivals Electronic Arts (EA +1.1%) and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), both at Buy, as the firm sees both benefiting from shifts in the digital gaming landscape.
- As gaming evolves "from a 'units sold' business into an 'engagement monetization' business," analyst Brian Nowak says, in-game offerings lead eventually to "recurring and growing user bases, higher per-game engagement (time spent per user), and more monetization opportunities."
- Nowak has a price target of $56 on ATVI, implying near-26% upside from here. His price target of $101 for EA implies 20% upside.
- Not only is the digital shift bringing higher margins, he says, but "increased investment discipline – focusing on fewer (hopefully hit) franchises, extending games' lifespans, etc."
- The firm's base case for ATVI is five-year compound annual growth rates of 11% for revenue and 17% for EPS. For EA, its base case is five-year CAGR of 6% for revenue and 14% for EPS.
Wed, Sep. 21, 7:15 PM
- Activision Blizzard (ATVI +1.2%) -- whose stock set a record high today -- has a number of catalysts ahead of the holiday gaming season, notes Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey as he bumps his price target.
- The analyst reiterated his Buy rating and raised the target price to $49.79 from $45.56, implying 11.5% upside from today's closing price.
- "We view the company's risk-reward as positive," Hickey says. ""We remain bullish on the current-gen console market and suspect upcoming consoles launches (will be) an incremental growth opportunity. The executive team is strong and determined to drive growth
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the latest entry in the company's multibillion-dollar franchise, is due Nov. 4. Other upcoming catalysts include new material via World of Warcraft: Legion and Destiny, Hickey says, as well as the latest entry in the company's toys-to-life franchise, Skylanders Imaginators, due Oct. 16.
Thu, Sep. 15, 6:36 PM
- Videogame sales ticked up Y/Y, rising 1% as key new game releases reversed a trend of declines, according to NPD Group.
- Spending had been falling against tough comparisons with last summer's releases. But a strong release schedule, including a new year's Madden NFL and a high-profile release in No Man's Sky, rescued August from summer doldrums.
- Overall sales rose to $573.4M as a pickup in software slightly more than offset continuing declines in hardware and accessories.
- Hardware sales continued a downward trend, coming on the cusp of a console refresh cycle at Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Those revenues fell 6% Y/Y to $178.1M.
- "The unit growth in sales for the Xbox One and the 3DS was not enough to offset the decline in spending on the PS4, Wii U and older consoles," says NPD's Sam Naji. "The decline in unit spending was also compounded by the 7 percent decline in the ARP for consoles and a 22 percent decline in the ARP for portables.”
- Videogame software spending, including digital estimates, grew 8% to $273.7M. And PC game sofware rose 18% to $14.2M. Meanwhile, accessory spending dropped 5% to $107.4M.
- In individual games (ranked by dollar sales), new releases took the spotlight: Madden NFL 17 (NASDAQ:EA) topped the chart, followed by No Man's Sky (SNE) and Deux Ex: Mankind Divided (Square Enix). Grand Theft Auto V, a cash cow at Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO), was No. 4, followed by Overwatch (NASDAQ:ATVI).
Wed, Sep. 14, 7:16 PM
- Activision Blizzard (ATVI +0.6%) has priced an offering of $1.5B in debt, in two tranches.
- A private offering of $650M in senior notes due 2021 comes at 2.3%, while an offering of $850M in senior notes due 2026 comes at 3.4%.
- The 2021 notes are priced at 99.878% of principal, while the 2026 notes are priced at 99.614% of principal.
- The company will use net proceeds and cash on hand to redeem the $1.5% in 5.625% senior notes due 2021. The offering is expected to close Monday.
- After hours: ATVI -0.4%.
Wed, Sep. 7, 3:52 PM
- More from Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation event, focused on the visual upgrades in the new PS4 Pro: The high-end model will be available Nov. 10 at a price of $399.
- The slimmer, now baseline PS4 will be available next week at $299.
- While the Pro model will support 4K graphics and High Dynamic Range, the company revealed that a firmware upgrade will make all currently installed PS4 models HDR capable.
- Key representatives from top gaming firms were represented: Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) CTO Andy Hendrickson spoke for Call of Duty, saying that the franchise's upcoming Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare: Remastered would support PS4 Pro "from day one," as will the previously released Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 via an online upgrade.
- Meanwhile, Aaryn Flynn of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) noted the company's FIFA soccer franchise and upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda would support the new graphics.
- Sony added that a Netflix upgrade would provide 600 hours of 4K content by the end of the year, including Narcos and Luke Cage. And YouTube is developing an app for the Pro model that will support 4K content.
Fri, Sep. 2, 10:31 AM
- In just a couple of hours, Activision (ATVI +2.1%) is opening Call of Duty XP, the huge in-person event tied to its multibillion-dollar war-game franchise, in Los Angeles.
- Thousands of fans will gather at the weekend expo to play and livestream games with fans online, to absorb new content the company has gathered for the games (including hands-on on the upcoming release Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare), and take in a concert with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa.
- Players are also wrapping the Call of Duty World League Championship, competing for prizes to be awarded Sunday that come to $2M.
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is arriving to high expectations on Nov. 4, alongside Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
- The company's also enjoying positive reaction to the release of World of Warcraft's Legion, released this week and injecting new life into another longtime franchise.
Mon, Aug. 22, 7:05 PM
- Videogame spending fell 14% overall in July, again facing tough comparisons with last summer and again led down by hardware, according to NPD Group.
- Overall sales fell to $480.1M, while hardware dropped 30% Y/Y to $141.3M. With a new Xbox One S already released, and two new PS4s reportedly on the way, unit sales fell 10%, and average price was down 22%. Portables were up 23%; consoles down 37%.
- Videogame software (now including digital estimates) dropped 5%, to $210.3M, and PC game software fell 12% to $11.4M. Accessories spending also dropped 5%, to $117.1M.
- In individual games (ranked by dollar sales), cash cow Grand Theft Auto V (TTWO +0.8%) overtook Overwatch (ATVI +0.4%) for the top spot, followed by Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TWX -0.4%). Including digital full-game sales has lifted GTA V, which had been falling down the physical sales chart. Other titles of interest: Call of Duty: Black Ops III (NASDAQ:ATVI) at No. 5, and Minecraft (MSFT +0.1%) at No. 6.
- In an uncommon outcome, Xbox One outsold the PlayStation 4 (SNE +0.9%) in July thanks to a reduced average price, with Wii U (OTCPK:NTDOY +1.6%) again in third place among hardware.
Tue, Aug. 16, 12:09 PM
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is off 3.5% as its key leadership sells off major stakes for estate planning purposes.
- In an SEC filing, the company confirmed an earlier plan for Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick and Chairman Brian Kelly to sell 17.5M shares at $40.51, drawing $708.9M.
- That's via the two's limited partnership, ASAC II, and it cuts nearly half their stakes in the company.
- After the sale, Kotick controls 20.09M shares while Kelly has about 17.1M.